Granholm Approves MDOT, Bridge Authority Agreement Securing Bridge's Future
September 20, 2005
Authority’s Traditional Role Formally Recognized
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that for the first time since the reorganization of state government under the 1963 State Constitution, the roles and responsibilities of the Mackinac Bridge Authority have been formally documented in an agreement signed by the director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Chair of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA).
The agreement, approved by Granholm, affirms the Authority’s traditional and independent functions and the legal obligation of MDOT to assist the Authority in meeting its responsibilities. A key element of the agreement providing for the allocation of duties and functions is a commitment by both the department and the authority to work together to find administrative efficiencies.
“The Mackinac Bridge is a jewel in Michigan’s crown, and we are ensuring that it will be treated as such for generations to come,” Granholm said. “For years, the Mackinac Bridge Authority has served as a steward of the bridge, and under this agreement, the Authority’s stewardship will continue.”
Granholm noted that in the current economy and security environment, it is more important than ever that the Mackinac Bridge be operated as efficiently as possible. In order to do so, the Governor noted that the MBA and MDOT will continue to work closely and cooperatively to maximize the efficient operation, structural integrity, and safety of the Mackinac Bridge.
Under the agreement, the Mackinac Bridge Authority will continue to exercise its traditional independent decision-making role over matters involving the bridge, including business and strategic plans, budgeting, finances, investments, risk management, insurance, and contracts, as well as oversight of the inspection, maintenance, and repair of the Mackinac Bridge. MDOT will work to implement decisions made by the Authority consistent with state law.
While the Michigan Department of Transportation will continue to serve as the appointing authority for the executive secretary of the Authority, the MBA’s executive secretary will be selected by MDOT only after consultation with, and approval of, the MBA, in accordance with rules applicable to employees in the state classified service. The department will also provide the Authority with any and all information related to the bridge and defer to the Authority’s judgment on matters involving the bridge.
The agreement acknowledges that the Authority is independent, and while served by MDOT, the authority does not report to MDOT.
William Gnodtke of Charlevoix and Chair of the Bridge Authority, said he welcomes the Governor’s willingness to formally clarify what have been informal practices in the past.
“The Bridge Authority has a single agenda, and that is to do what is in the best interest of the Mackinac Bridge,” Gnodtke said. “We welcome the Governor’s willingness to ensure that we have all the tools and support we need to ensure that the Mackinac Bridge lives up to its reputation as the ‘Mighty Mac’ for generations to come.”
As a plan for the allocation of duties and functions within a principal department of state government, the agreement signed by the department and the Authority required the approval of the Governor under the Executive Organization Act of 1965.